Your Career and You… "Graduated, Got a Job…What Next?!?"

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try { var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-13189095-1”); pageTracker._trackPageview(); } catch(err) {} I’ve had a few email exchanges recently with former students about where they are in their young careers. As is perfectly normal, 
particularly for folks who are reaching the four-to-five year mark after graduation, they’re wondering, “What next?”

Some of them are working in the field for which they prepared in college. Others are working in areas they hadn’t considered but, in spite of the ongoing economic situation (a recurring theme in my posts, I know, but a reality for these folks), they have “a job.”

Two examples…two situations.

My friend Alicia told me a couple of years ago in our Public Relations class at Curry College that (a) she wanted to start her own business and (b) she wanted to specialize in event planning. As she reminded me this morning when we were chatting, I told her she was nuts.

I didn’t think, fresh out of college with a degree in Communication and a Public Relations concentration, that this would be the right time to strike out on her own.

Long story short…she didn’t listen to her wise professor (as some of the smarter of my student-friends are likely to do!)…and she is now two years into building a vibrant business, Aliste Events, with some very satisfied clients to boot!! She’s marketing her services with the skill of a seasoned professional, drawing on the variety of courses that she took at Curry and recognizing the value gained from each.

On the other side, Annette contacted me a couple of days ago to ask about graduate schools.

She found a job right shortly after graduation, as an administrative assistant in a major hospital in Boston. She has been there for three or four years, recently got an upgrade in her responsibilities, and believes she can do more.

She sees a Master’s degree in some area of Communication as her way of making herself more attractive to potential employers.

The difference in the two?

Alicia knew early on what she wanted to do. She focused her energies and enthusiasm on achieving that goal, and is charting a path for her future.

Annette wasn’t sure…as many of us have been at some point in our lives…but she knew she had to have something until she figured it out.

The similarity between the two?

Both are asking (or wondering), “What next?”

“What’s the next stage in the development of my business?”

“What’s the next stage in the development of my career?”

This is the question you should be asking yourself regularly…not every day…that’s a little obsessive! But…even if you’re deliriously happy with what you’re doing right now, don’t allow yourself to get too comfy-cozy with your situation.

Ask yourself…and ask others who know you…”What next?”

“The return from your work must be the satisfaction which that work brings you and the world’s need of that work. With this, life is heaven, or as near heaven as you can get. Without this–with work which you despise, which bores you, and which the world does not need–this life is hell.” William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, “To His Newborn Great-Grandson; address on his ninetieth birthday” [1958]


About kirkhazlett

35+ years' federal government and nonprofit organization PR experience followed by more than 20 years' undergraduate and graduate college teaching experience. Community and media relations expertise, as well as a fanaticism for quality service and customer satisfaction. PR for healthcare and member services organizations ranging from Blood Bank of Hawaii to Medical Area Service Corporation to Boston Harborfest. Consulting services for Manila and Singapore Red Cross.
This entry was posted in careers, Communication, Curry College, job hunting, job search, public relations. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Your Career and You… "Graduated, Got a Job…What Next?!?"

  1. Brandon says:

    The information and advice provided here is very useful. I am facing a "What next" moment myself. I received a BA in international communications in 1999. After graduation I ran my own business (taxi service in Napa Valley ) for 7 years. After closing the business I went in to mortgage banking where i am now. Since closing my business, I have wanted to get in to communications but now feel like I'm too long away from it to get back. What skills do you think are necessary to develop at this point to break in to PR? Any insight would be appreciated.


  2. Brandon ~ Thanks. And you ask some very insightful questions. For starters, I would offer that you bring some skills that the "average" communicator just starting out…business management expertise, interpersonal communication ability, marketing and promotion experience, creative thinking. Probably also some client consulting knowledge and strategic planning ability.I would suggest taking a look at your tactical skills such as writing, research, etc. For example, when I made the transition from federal government to private sector…with an engineering-based company…I took, through a local college's Continuing Education program, a Technical Writing course to learn the differences between what I was used to writing for the government and what would be needed for this new employer. Turned out I actually had the capabilities, but the course gave me the reassurance to press ahead.You also would be wise to connect with a local Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) chapter and go to some of their meetings to learn from other experts. I'm lucky here in the Boston area to have both a PRSA chapter as well as the Publicity Club of New England. Between those two organizations, I'm never at a loss on what to learn next!Hope this helps a little.Kirk


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